Josh’s parents were in town last week so we decided to explore Kaneohe Bay one day and visit the sandbar. After looking at it for the past 8 months, we decided it was time to actually see what it was all about. Josh and I rented paddle boards and his parents kayaked. It was the perfect day and just stunning!
This past weekend, Josh and I headed to the Big Island one last time for our last trip before Josh deploys and I move. We flew in on Friday night and checked into our hotel to get some sleep before starting our early and very busy Saturday.
Our first stop of the weekend was kayaking across Kealakekua Bay to the Captain Cook Monument to snorkel. The snorkeling and kayak tour came highly recommended to us and they definitely did not disappoint! On our 1 1/2 mile kayak to the monument, we were surrounded by a pod of spinner dolphins. It was so amazing to be so close to them and on their level! The video below shows just how close they were too us. Amazing!
After kayaking over to the monument, we landed our kayaks and got our snorkel gear ready. We also took some time to admire the monument. Captain Cook first visited the islands in 1778. It was thought that he and his crew were gods and were welcomed with open arms during a time of peace. After exploiting the kindness of the Hawaiian people, he left and returned during a time of war where he was not exactly welcomed back with open arms. He was killed in the bay by the Hawaiians and the monument memorializes his death.
Next, it was time to snorkel!! It was absolutely stunning. By far the best snorkeling I have ever seen. I could have spent hours just swimming around the area. It was great, as we were the only group (us and one other couple with our guide) and two other random people. We beat the crowd of tour boats!
After we finished snorkeling, we headed back across the bay. We encountered more dolphins along the way showing off their spinning moves. After we had lunch, we went back to the hotel to shower, change and start making our way towards Mauna Kea. The Mauna Kea summit sits at 13,796 feet and houses University of Hawaii’s Institute for Astronomy and Mauna Kea Observatories. The 13 telescopes are operated by astronomers from 11 different countries. It was an incredible sight to see.
We stopped at the Visitor Information Station (9,200 ft above sea level) to acclimate to the elevation before heading to the summit. After about an hour, we headed up to the summit to catch the sunset and check out the observatories. Unfortunately, it was pretty cloudy so we didn’t get to see the sunset, but the clouds were still beautiful.
After that, we headed back down to do some star gazing. The Visitor Information Station sets up multiple telescopes for people to view things far, far away! It was awesome. The stars were absolutely breathtaking. I have never experienced anything like it! Once we finished viewing everything through the telescopes, we wandered through the gift shop and then headed over to a picnic table area, where it was pitch black, to better view the stars. As we were sitting there mesmerized, Josh said “So I have a question for you”. My response was, naturally, something along the lines of “Yeah, what’s up?”. To which he replied “Will you marry me?” as he got down off the bench onto one knee (in the dark). I was COMPLETELY shocked and surprised and uttered things such as “EXCUSE ME!?” and “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!”. After I slightly recovered, I remembered to say “OF COURSE YES!!!!!!”. Since it was so dark, I couldn’t see the ring he had…he jokingly said “So I know it’s dark, but I promise it’s pretty”. It was an absolutely amazing and unexpected way to end the day! As I sit here writing this, I’m still in shock! We attempted to take a selfie picture of the two of us and, of course, cut half our faces off (typical). So that is our engagement picture…sitting in the dark with half our faces cut off and squinty eyes! Once we got back to the car, we took a much better one (below). Then I decided to call my mom and wake her up at 2:00 am her time to tell her the amazing news! We then made it back to civilization to find a place to eat dinner. Since it was so late, one of the only places open was “Humpy’s”. Yep, we celebrated our engagement at a restaurant called “Humpy’s”. Hilarious! All in all, I would say it was one successful day on The Big Island!
Josh and I landed on Kauai Friday evening for our third trip to the island for a quick weekend away from Oahu. We were only an hour late (which is pretty awesome on an inter-island Island Air flight), but since everything on Kauai shuts down at 9:00 p.m., we had few choices for dinner. We grabbed food at Duke’s in Lihue and then checked into our hotel (Kauai Beach Resort).
The entire purpose of this trip was to take a helicopter tour of the island. In February of 2012, Josh and I hiked the Kalalau Trail along the Na Pali coast of Kauai. It was an ridiculous trip (for many reasons) and during those 22 miles there and back, we kept hearing all of the helicopters above us. We decided that we were coming back to Kauai and viewing our amazing hike from up above. We went back to Kauai in September of 2012 to do just that, but got rained out for our tour (shocking). However, I am happy to report that this trip was a COMPLETE success! We had the most amazing helicopter tour with Jack Harter Helicopters. We flew in a helicopter with doors off for a whole hour around the island. We had great weather and the views were incredible! It was by far the highlight of our trip :).
After our helicopter tour, we headed to Wailua River to go kayaking. We kayaked two miles upriver to Secret Falls (120 ft water fall). We hiked (much further than we thought) in extremely muddy conditions to the waterfall. I had flip flops on (horrible idea) and we were covered in mud by the time we left.
After kayaking, we went to view ‘Opaeka’a Falls. It was late in the day, so we didn’t get that great of a shot. But it was huge!
After quickly stopping there, we went back to the hotel and got ready for dinner at Hukilau Lanai. We sat out on the patio and enjoyed some amazing food after a terrific day!
Today, Becca, Ben, Josh and I went kayaking off of Kailua Beach. Josh and I did this a few months ago and had a great time and this time the weather was much nicer. It was a beautiful day and we had a great time kayaking to two different islands. We all got plenty of sun and a great workout! Definitely a great way to spend our last full day with Becca and Ben!
Josh and I went kayaking yesterday off of Kailua. It. Was. Amaaaaazing. Definitely one of the most fun things I’ve done on Oahu (and I feel like I’ve done a lot of fun things). We started out in the morning around 9:30 and came back around 2:30 in the afternoon. It was pretty cloudy and windy…which made it rather chilly with the water spraying us from the wind. Along with it being overcast, there was a surf advisory for the north and west sides of Oahu which made the normal glassy, calm water around Kailua beach and Lanikai pretty choppy.
We loaded up the kayak from Windward Water Sports in Kailua and headed towards Kailua beach. We parked, got the kayak off Josh’s car and headed towards the beach with all our stuff. Neither of us had kayaked before, but we successfully launched off the beach (probably our most successful launch of the day) and headed towards Popoi’a (Flat Island). It is located about a quarter mile off of Kailua Beach Park and is about four acres in size. Flat Island is a State Seabird Sanctuary where about 3,000 wedge-taled shearwater seabirds call home. The birds nest in the many sink holes on the island so you have to be careful where you step, stay off the center of the island and walk only around the edge. You also have a great view of the Mokulua Islands (our final destination on our kayak adventure).
After taking some pictures and walking around the island, we got back in the kayak and headed towards The Mokes. This was a bit longer of a journey and definitely a good arm/back workout with the wind and waves. We also had to navigate around the reef and the snorkelers. We finally arrived at Moku Nui (the larger of the two islands) in a rather adventurous landing. A pretty large wave pushed us all the way up into the beach and we had to scramble out and drag our kayak up out of the surf (we were soaked). After getting ourselves together, we gathered our stuff and headed off to the right side of the island to see what it could offer. The terrain was rocky, but nothing that we couldn’t conquer in flip flops. We found a spot, sat down and had a snack and hung out and dried off in the sun.
After about a half hour, a tour came by and the guide pointed out a place where people could jump into a shallow pool. It was pretty cool, so Josh decided to jump and I took pictures.
After Josh jumped, we headed back towards the beach to visit the other side of the island. We had a pretty good view of Moku Iki, which is off limits to visitors as it is also a State Seabird Sanctuary (so is the middle of Moku Nui), along with great views of Lanikai Beach. After venturing the other way a bit, we headed back towards the kayak to take off and head back to Kailua Beach. This is where it gets interesting…we packed up our stuff and had the most adventurous launch off of Moku Nui. What we thought was a calm area turned out to be where all of the waves from both directions around the island converged into the perfect storm approximately right when Josh and I tried to launch off the beach. This resulted in us doing a 360 a few times and being completely owned by the ocean. Our water bottle went flying off the kayak, the dry bag somehow stayed attached and we both were dying laughing (along with the rest of the people standing on the beach watching us). A very nice person caught our water bottle in the waves and gave us a nice shove and we were off! It was absolutely hilarious…not a single part of us stayed dry. After that, we headed back to Kailua, loaded up the kayak (harder than it sounds) and drove it back to the rental place. All in all, a HUGE success for our first kayaking adventure!